St. Louis Then and Now: Vandeventer at Highway 40/64

Posted by Missouri's Historic Highways on Monday, February 1, 2021


When Highway 40 was built, it changed the entire landscape of the St. Louis area.

Often called the Main Street of America, St. Louis’ main artery is just one small section along the huge reach of the highway. Spanning twelve states, Highway 40 stretches from Atlantic City, New Jersey, all the way to Silver Summit, Utah.

In St. Louis, most of the modern route of Highway 40 is lifted high off the ground, arching over the city like a little stretch of road up in the sky. Still, the construction of this highway changed the ground beneath it. Buildings were razed, neighborhoods were changed and new ways of commuting to work were sorted.

The old picture above of Market Street at Vandeventer Avenue shows just how much the highway changed one little corner of St. Louis.

Posted by the Missouri’s Historic Highways Facebook page, the photo was taken just south of where IKEA is now. The photo was taken along Vandeventer Avenue facing east and looking up what was then a very busy stretch of Market Street.

While the many of buildings seen in the old picture the background downtown remain standing, all of the buildings in the foreground of the picture have been demolished — except for one.

That lighter-colored building at the right of the photo is still standing and is still being used. It’s currently the home of JJ’s Clubhouse and Bar (3858 Market Street, 314-535-4100), a long-running gay bar and community gathering spot.

Here's a more recent view of the same area from the same angle:

click to enlarge Along Vandeventer, August 2019 - Google Maps
Along Vandeventer, August 2019

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About The Author

Jaime Lees

Jaime Lees is a digital content editor for the Riverfront Times.
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